Dolphins routinely produce 10 times more power than the fittest human athletes do, concludes a new study on the herculean marine mammals.
The discovery helps to explain why dolphins seem to swim with ease next to boats propelled by powerful engines. At first scientists thought dolphins always benefited from some kind of fluid-flow trickery, but now we know the truth: Dolphins are ultra strong.
The study is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.
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Lead author Frank Fish (that's his real name!) is a talented researcher whose work I've covered before. He heads up the Liquid Life Laboratory at West Chester University, where he's also a professor of biology.
Prior to the study, Fish and his team had a clear goal in mind. "Let's see how much power a dolphin can produce," Fish said in a press release.
"So," he continued, "I used some hydrodynamics models that looked at the motion of the flukes (dolphin tails) and came up with the realization that dolphins could produce very high amounts of power."